Sunday, February 28, 2010

Juke Joint

Click on the above photograph to enlarge it.

Juke joint
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the 1947 race film Juke Joint, see Juke Joint (1947 film).

Exterior of a juke joint in Belle Glade, Florida, photographed by Marion Post Wolcott in 1944Juke joint (or jook joint) is the vernacular term for an informal establishment featuring music, dancing, gambling, and drinking, primarily operated by African American people in the southeastern United States. The term "juke" is believed to derive from the Gullah word joog, meaning rowdy or disorderly.[1] A juke joint may also be called a "barrelhouse".

Classic juke joints found, for example, at rural crossroads, catered to the rural work force that began to emerge after the emancipation.[1] Plantations workers and sharecroppers needed a place to relax and socialize following a hard week, particularly since they were barred from most white establishments by Jim Crow laws. Set up on the outskirts of town, often in ramshackle buildings or private houses, juke joints offered food, drink, dancing and gambling for weary workers.[2] Owners made extra money selling groceries or moonshine to patrons, or providing cheap room and board.

The origins of juke joints may be the community rooms that were occasionally built on plantations to provide a place for blacks to socialize during slavery. This practice spread to the work camps such as sawmills, turpentine camps and lumber companies in the early twentieth century, which built barrel-houses and chock-houses to be used for drinking and gambling. Constructed simply like a field hand's "shotgun"-style dwelling, these may have been the first juke joints. During the prohibition in the United States it became common to see squalid independent juke joints at highway crossings and railroad stops. These were almost never called "juke joint"; but rather were named such as the "Lone Star" or "Colored Cafe". They were often open only on weekends.[3] Juke joints may represent the first "private space" for blacks.[4] Paul Oliver writes that juke joints were "the last retreat, the final bastion for black people who want to get away from whites, and the pressures of the day."[3]

Jooks occurred on plantations, and classic juke joints found, for example, at rural crossroads began to emerge after the Emancipation Proclamation.[5] Dancing was done to so-called jigs and reels (terms routinely used for any dance that struck respectable people as wild or unrestrained, whether Irish or African), to music we now think of as "old-time" or "hillbilly". Through the first years of the twentieth century, the fiddle was by far the most popular instrument among both white and black Southern musicians. The banjo, too, was popular before guitars became widely available in the 1890s.[6]

Juke joint music began with the black folk rags ("ragtime stuff" and "folk rags" are a catch-all term for older African American music[7]) and then the boogie woogie dance music of the late 1880s or 1890s and became the blues, barrel house, and the slow drag dance music of the rural south (moving to Chicago's black rent-party circuit in the Great Migration) often "raucous and raunchy"[8] good time secular music. Dance forms evolved from ring dances to solo and couples dancing. Some blacks, those seeking white approval, opposed the amorality of the raucous "jook crowd".[8]

Until the advent of the Victrola, and juke boxes, at least one musician was required to provide music for dancing, but as many as three musicians would play in jooks.[9] In larger cities like New Orleans, string trios or quartets were hired.[10]

Label of 78-rpm gramophone record of "Livery Stable Blues - Fox Trot" (1917)"So far as what was called blues, that didn't come till 'round 1917...What we had in my coming up days was music for dancing, and it was of all different sorts" - Mance Lipscomb, Texas guitarist and singer. Musicians of that time had a degree of versatility that is now extremely rare, and styles were not yet codified and there was a good deal of shading and overlap.[6]

Paul Oliver, who tells of a visit to a juke joint outside of Clarksdale some forty years ago and was the only white man there, describes juke joints of the time as, "unappealing, decrepit, crumbling shacks" that were often so small that only a few couples could Hully Gully. The outside yard was filled with trash. Inside they are "dusty" and "squalid" with the walls "stained to shoulder height".[3] In 1934, anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston made the first formal attempt to describe the juke joint and its cultural role, writing that "the Negro jooks...are primitive rural counterparts of resort night clubs, where turpentine workers take their evening relaxation deep in the pine forests." Jukes figure prominently in her studies of African American folklore.[11]

Early figures of blues, including Robert Johnson, Son House, Charley Patton, and countless others, traveled the juke joint circuit, scraping out a living on tips and free meals. While musicians played, patrons enjoyed dances with long heritages in some parts of the African American community, such as the Slow Drag.

Many of the early and historic juke joints have closed over the past decades for a number of socio-economic reasons. Po' Monkey's is one of the last remaining rural jukes in the Mississippi Delta. It began as a renovated sharecropper's shack which was probably originally built in the 1920s or so.[12] Po' Monkey's features live blues music and "Family Night" on Thursday nights.[13] Still run by Po' Monkey, the popular juke joint has been featured in national and international articles about the Delta. The Blue Front Cafe is a historic old juke joint made of cinder blocks in Bentonia, Mississippi which played an important role in the development of the blues in Mississippi. It was still in operation as of 2006.[14] Smitty's Red Top Lounge in Clarksdale, Mississippi, is also still operating as of last notice.[15]

Urban juke joint
Peter Guralnick describes many Chicago juke joints as corner bars that go by an address and have no name. The musicians and singers perform unannounced and without microphones, ending with little if any applause. Guralnick tells of a visit to a specific juke joint, Florence's, in 1977. In stark contrast to the streets outside, Florence's is dim, and smoke-filled with the music more of an accompaniment to the "various business" being conducted than the focus of the patrons' attention. The "sheer funk of all those closely-packed-together bodies, the shouts and laughter" draws his attention. He describes the security measures and buzzer at the door, there having been a shooting there a few years ago. On this particular day Magic Slim was performing with his band, the Teardrops, on a bandstand barely big enough to hold the band.[16]

Katrina Hazzard-Gordon writes that "[t]he honky-tonk was the first urban manifestation of the jook, and the name itself later became synonymous with a style of music. Related to the classic blues in tonal structure, honky-tonk has a tempo that is slightly stepped up. It is rhythmically suited for many African-American dances…", but cites no reference.[17]

The low-down allure of juke joints has inspired many large-scale commercial establishments, including the House of Blues chain, the 308 Blues Club and Cafe in Indianola, Mississippi[18] and the Ground Zero in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Traditional juke joints, however, are under pressure from other forms of entertainment, including casinos.[2] Many get more business from tourists in search of an authentic blues experience than local patrons. The annual Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale was founded in 2004 to foster appreciation for local jukes and promote their preservation.

Jukes have been celebrated in photos and film. Marion Post Wolcott's images of the dilapidated buildings and the pulsing life they contained are among the most famous documentary images of the era.
1.^ Jookin'. Katrina Hazzard-Gordon. Temple University Press. 1990. page 80 ISBN 0-97722-613-X
2.^ Gorman, Juliet Gorman. "Cultural Migrancy, Jooks, and Photographs". Retrieved 2008-06-08.
3.^ a b c Oliver, Paul (1984). Blues Off the Record:Thirty Years of Blues Commentary. New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 45–47. ISBN 0-306-80321-6.
4.^ Gorman, Juliet. "Backwoods Identities". Retrieved 2008-06-08.
5.^ Jookin'. Katrina Hazzard-Gordon. Temple University Press. 1990. page 80, 105 ISBN 0-97722-613-X
6.^ a b Wald, Elijah (2004). Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues. HarperCollins. pp. 45, 46. ISBN 0060524235.
7.^ Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues By Elijah Wald 2004 HarperCollins pages 43, 44 ISBN 0060524235
8.^ a b Floyd, Jr., Samuel (1995). The Power of Black Music. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 66–67, 122. ISBN 0-19-508235-4.
9.^ Jookin'. Katrina Hazzard-Gordon. Temple University Press. 1990. pages 82, 83. ISBN 0-97722-613-X
10.^ Jookin'. Katrina Hazzard-Gordon. Temple University Press. 1990. page. 87 ISBN 0-97722-613-X
11.^ Gorman, Juliet. "What is a Jook Joint?". Retrieved 2008-06-08.
12.^ "Luther Brown, Inside Poor Monkey's - Abstract". Retrieved 2008-06-07.
13.^ "Luther Brown, Inside Poor Monkey's - Lounge". Retrieved 2008-06-07.
14.^ "Blue Front Cafe a sure stop along Mississippi Blues Trail -". Retrieved 2008-05-27.
15.^ "Juke-joints". Retrieved 2008-06-07.
16.^ Guralnick, Peter (1989). Lost Highway: Journeys and Arrivals of American Musicians. New York: Harper & Row. pp. 304–305. ISBN 0-06-077174-6.
17.^ Hazzard-Gordon, Katrina (May 1990). "Shoddy Confines: The Jook Continuum". Jookin': The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. p. 84. ISBN 0-97722-613-X. OCLC 19515231.
18.^ "308 Blues Club and Cafe". Retrieved 2008-06-07.
[edit] External links
Random House Word of the Day . Accessed 2006-02-02.
Gorman, Juliet. "Cultural Migrancy, Jooks, and Photographs". Retrieved 2008-06-08.
Gorman, Juliet. "What is a Jook Joint?". Retrieved 2008-06-08.
Junior's Juke Joint. Accessed 2006-02-01.
Juke Joint Festival. Accessed 2006-02-02.
"Backroads of American Music". Retrieved 2008-06-08.
Junior's Juke Joint
Jukin' It Out: Contested Visions of Florida in New Deal Narratives
Juke Joint Festival
Juke Joint video
[ Juke Joint at Queens
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Drinking establishments | Types of restaurants | Blues

Mississippi Juke Joints and Roadhouses

Juke Joint

Photographs by Birney Imes, introduction by Richard Ford

Reprint edition; first published in 1990

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $55.00, ISBN: 0878054375; Paperback, $35.00, ISBN: 087805846X)

Publication date: December 2002

Description from the publisher:

A collection of photographs capturing the mysterious interiors of juke joints in the Mississippi Delta.

“I saw that photograph of the men standing around the pool table, and read that phrase, ‘2-kool 2-be 4-gotten,’ and the inspiration was obvious. Every time I sing that song I credit Birney Imes. Birney’s work is, in photography, what a good blues song is to me—gritty, edgy in all its parallels.” —Lucinda Williams

“Sweet lingering drifts through these pictures like heat.” —Richard Ford

“Imes immortalizes the juke joints of the Delta.” —Newsweek

“Birney Imes photographs what most people overlook.… Linger awhile.” —Douglas Balz, Chicago Tribune

These photographs by Birney Imes have the jagged edge of genuine blues music. They were taken in the Mississippi Delta during the 1980s, featured in exhibitions, and collected in Juke Joint, first published in 1990. After being unavailable for five years, this riveting book is in print again. As Lucinda Williams sang, it's “too cool to be forgotten.”

Imes focused his camera on nearly empty rooms, yet these bluesy, almost peopleless photographs capture black cafes, roadhouses, and taverns as a fascinating folk art that resounds with energy and pulses with the joys and griefs of the clientele.

The names of these juke joints are almost as evocative as Imes’s photographs—the Pink Pony in Darling, Mississippi, the People’s Choice Café in Leland, Monkey’s Place in Merigold, the Evening Star Lounge in Shaw, the Playboy Club in Louise, Juicy’s Place in Marcella, the Social Inn in Gunnison, and A. D.’s Place in Glendora.

To the volume Richard Ford, the acclaimed author of The Sportswriter, Rock Springs, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Independence Day, has contributed a long, perceptive essay that probes Imes’s photographs for their aesthetic values and for what they reveal beyond their surface.

Birney Imes is the photographer and author of Whispering Pines (University Press of Mississippi). His photographs have been exhibited in solo shows in the United States and in Europe. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Richard Ford, the author of many books of fiction, has been the recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

In the movie THE FUGITIVE KIND Joanne Woodward explains to Marlon Brando what "jukin'" is. "You drive a little bit you drink a little bit and you dance a little bit. Then you drive a little bit more and drink a little bit more and dance a little bit more and drive on to the next jukejoint".
Jukejoints had jukeboxes but often they had live music. Bands playing either country or rock and roll or R&B for dancing. Fights were common. Bands often playing behind something to protect themselves from flying beer bottles.
Before the days of the interstate highways the back roads were often pitch black at night. Then you would see a glow off in the distance. Getting closer you would see a lit up neon beer sign on a long pole. It would say either Miller High Life or Schlitz or some other local beer. The parking lots were almost always gravel not paved. The cars would make a crunching sound on the gravel as they pulled into the parking lot. Then the heavy doors of the old cars of the 1940s and 1950s and 60s would open and close with a heavy kerthunk sound.
In the days of segregation there were juke joints and roadhouses for blacks and whites. They did not and could not go to the other people's places. But in very rural areas often you would find two separate clubs in one building. One club for whites in the front and another club for blacks in the rear but both in the same building. This was the case with The Whispering Pines in Crawford, Mississippi. See my post below about The Whispering Pines another fine photography book by Birney Imes and also the name of a good song by Big Joe Williams (often mistitled The Whistlin' Pines) about this old time Mississippi Roadhouse Cafe.

Click on the label Juke Joint in the labels box below to find my other post about The Fugitive Kind and a clip from the movie where Joanne Woodward explains in full what jukin' is.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Three Kings And The Queen Victoria Spivey Big Joe Williams Bob Dylan

Click on these pictures to enlarge them. Back cover liner notes mention Bob Dylan. Recorded in NYC 1962.
Three Kings And The Queen

Roosevelt Sykes
- This Is A New World
Lonnie Johnson
- Mr. Johnson’s Guitar Talks
Big Joe Williams & Bob Dylan
- Sitting On Top Of The World
Victoria Spivey
- All You Men
Roosevelt Sykes
- Lake Charles Stomp
Big Joe Williams
- Strange Girl Blues
Lonnie Johnson
- Stick By Me Baby
Victoria Spivey
- Turpentine

Roosevelt Sykes
- Let’s Play Mommy And Daddy
Big Joe Williams & Bob Dylan
- Wichita
Victoria Spivey
- Brown Skin
Lonnie Johnson
- Stop Talking
Big Joe Williams
- No Partnership Woman
Victoria Spivey
- Blues For Robert Calvin No. 2
Lonnie Johnson
- Four Shots Of Gin
Sykes & Spivey
- Thirteen

Big Joe Williams At Gerde's Folk City NYC 1962

Big Joe Williams
at Folk City

- Mink Coat Blues
- Burned Child Is Scared Of Fire
- Baby, I Ain't Gonna Let You Go
- Trouble Gonna Take Me To My Grave
- Bugle Blues
- Just Wanna Be Your Man

- I'm Gonna Do It This Time
- She's Doggin' Me
- How Do You Wnat Your Tollin' Done
- I Can't Sign My Name
- Bottle Up And Go
- I'm Tired Woman
rec. live at Gerde's Folk City, New York City; Febr. 26, 1962
I bought a copy of this LP in 1967. It is one of my favorite albums of Big Joe Williams. Live At Gerde's Folk City. Bob Dylan was around Gerde's Folk City in 1962 and told the owner to book Big Joe. Dylan had recorded with Big Joe Williams and Victoria Spivey in 1962 on her label Spivey Records. The Lp is called Three Kings And The Queen.

Mississippi Blues Trail Marker For Big Joe Williams Mentions Bob Dylan

This video is a compilation of some of the many musicians who have recorded Big Joe Williams' signature song BABY PLEASE DON'T GO. There are many others than the ones on the above video. Mose Allison for instance always has done a fine version of this song. But Big Joe Williams wrote it and I like the way he does it.

The picture above is of Bob Dylan, Victoria Spivey, John Hammond, and Big Joe Williams.

Click on the link below and  it will take you to the Big Joe Williams Marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. You can see the marker and enlarge it. Also there is a link to a map of Crawford, Mississippi that shows where the marker is located. This map can be clicked on to enlarge and also see a aerial view of Crawford, Mississippi. I get a big kick out of the fact that the marker in Crawford, Mississippi contains the name Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan and Big Joe Williams were good friends. They both tell tall tales of meeting each other when Dylan was a kid and riding the rails together. Hoboing around and Dylan playing the spoons on the streets of Chicago with Big Joe as they walked along and Big Joe played his guitar. Big Joe lived in the basement of the Jazz Record Mart at 7 West Grand Street in Chicago.

Mississippi Blues Trail Marker in Crawford, Mississippi For Big Joe Williams

The above pictures of Big Joe Williams are from April 1975. Click on the picture to enlarge it. The pictures were taken in Crawford, Mississippi on the back porch of Mrs. Carrie Lee Harvey's house.

This is the text on the marker for Big Joe that is in Crawford, Mississippi.
Big Joe Williams
Big Joe Williams - Crawford
Big Joe Williams (c. 1903-1982) epitomized the life and times of the rambunctious, roving bluesman, traveling from coast to coast and around the world playing rugged, rhythmic blues on his nine-string guitar at juke joints, house parties, and concerts. Mentor to blues legends Muddy Waters and Honeyboy Edwards, Williams was born near Crawford, where he also spent his final years. His song “Baby Please Don't Go” has been recorded by many blues and rock bands.

Joe Lee “Big Joe” Williams was born about ten miles west of Crawford on the edge of the Noxubee Swamp on October 16, 1903 (or, according to some documents, 1899). Williams came from a family of blues performers that included his grandfather, Bert Logan, and uncles Bert and Russ Logan. He crafted his first instrument, a one-string guitar, and later became known for the nine-string guitar he created by adding three strings to a standard guitar. Joe left home in his teens and made his living playing for workers at railway, turpentine, levee, and logging camps and traveling with minstrel troupes and medicine shows. He came under the influence of Charley Patton in the Mississippi Delta, where he sometimes took young bluesmen Honeyboy Edwards and Muddy Waters on the road with him. He became a staple of the vibrant blues scene in St. Louis in the 1930s and later relocated to Chicago, though he never ceased traveling.

In 1935 Williams recorded his signature song “Baby Please Don’t Go,” which was later covered by dozens of artists including Muddy Waters, Van Morrison (with the band Them), and Bob Dylan (who played harmonica on a Big Joe session in 1962). Joe sometimes gave his wife, blues singer Bessie Mae Smith, credit for writing the tune, which was much like the traditional work song “Another Man Done Gone.” Many of Williams's 1930s and '40s recordings for the Bluebird and Columbia labels featured harmonica great John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson. When the trends in African American music shifted to electric blues and rhythm and blues styles after World War II, many traditional bluesmen were left behind, but the indefatigable Williams managed to keep recording singles for labels such as Trumpet (based in Jackson, Mississippi), Bullet, and Vee-Jay.

In the late '50s Big Joe began a new career as a “folk blues” artist. He performed widely at coffeehouses, nightclubs, and festivals and recorded many albums for Delmark, Arhoolie, Testament, Bluesville, Folkways, and other labels that were marketed to white collectors and enthusiasts in America and Europe. He was particularly popular in Chicago, where he lived in the basement of the Jazz Record Mart, and his legendary travels and cantankerous personality were captured in guitarist Mike Bloomfield’s memoir Me and Big Joe. Williams took pride not only in his own music but also in his work as a talent scout. He helped locate and record many artists in Mississippi, St. Louis, and Chicago, including J. D. Short, originally of Port Gibson, and John Wesley “Mr. Shortstuff” Macon. Williams died in Macon on December 17, 1982, and is buried about six miles west of Crawford in Oktibbeha County. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1992.

content © Mississippi Blues Commission

Friday, February 26, 2010

Birney Imes Whispering Pines Big Joe Williams Song

Whispering Pines.
Photographs by Birney Imes. Foreword by Trudy Wilner Stack.
University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, 1994. 96 pp., 12 duotone and 54 full color, 11x8".

Birney Imes, irresistibly drawn to Whispering Pines, began his photographic career there and has returned since the mid-1970s to explore its "bulging assembly of decaying backwoods Americana."--the publisher. Referring to the place as "overwhelming" and "irresistible" he recalls that the "The `Eppie Eats' sign out front, the rusting cars, the hedge in the parking lot dividing the White Side and the Black Side, and the stuff--it was everywhere inside and out: coin scales, pinball machines, jukeboxes, lawn mowers, old campaign posters, newspapers, guns, cigar boxes, and beer signs" lured him like a charm. As perhaps no one else can, he has perceived and expressed through these photographs the extraordinary in the ordinary.

The Whispering Pines is a song by Big Joe Williams. It is always wrongly titled Whistling Pines. I want to set this straight. There was a roadhouse cafe near Crawford, Mississippi named Whispering Pines. Birney Imes made a photography book about the place. He first saw it in 1975 in its declining years. He photographed it and the people who frequented it over a period of many years and eventually published his book WHISPERING PINES. It is still available from the University of Mississippi Press and also on online used book sites. It is a really fine photography book. He also did another photo book called JUKE JOINT that is just as good or better.
Big Joe Williams' song Whispering Pines is quoted at the back of the book in the afterword.
In the post below you will see that the people who put out that CD Big Joe Williams The Final Years also titled the song incorrectly. It is NOT Whistling Pines. It should be Whispering Pines.
I used to go in this place starting back in the 1950s. It was then just another Mississippi roadhouse cafe. A place where someone could stop on Hwy45 between Columbus and Macon and get a Coke or a beer or have something to eat. Lit up at night the neon signs beckoned in the total Mississippi darkness.
I also remember they used to serve a Malt Liquor called Bulldog named after the nearby Mississippi State University mascot. Miss. State is located in nearby Starkville, Miss.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s this place was a clean restaurant and cafe.There was a large neon sign out front that said Whispering Pines. Another small one said Eppies Eats. Eppie was the owner along with her husband. They had pinball machines and a good jukebox.
But if you can get a copy of Birney Imes book Whispering Pines you will see that after the owners' wife died the place really fell into decline by the time Imes first found it and began photographing it in 1975. And ending with the publication of his book in 1994.
The Whispering Pines no longer exists except in Birney Imes' book and Big Joe Williams song.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

On The Road With Big Joe Williams and George Cummings to Muscle Shoals, Alabama for Recording Session Fall of 1978

Big Joe Williams
The Final years

- Tailor Made Woman
- Highway 49
- Back Door
- Whistling Pine Blues
- Sunny Road Blues
- A Change Gotta Be Made
- No Special Rider Blues
- Baby Please Don't Go
- I Belive I'll Make A Change
- You're Dogging Me
- New Car Blues
- Black Rat Blues
- Mama Don't Allow Me
- Down On Mr. May Stewart's Farm
- Meet Me In The Bottom
- Muscle Shoals Blues
- Big Road Blues
rec. Sept. 1978 at Muscle Shoals Studios

The video above is of Big Joe Williams filmed outside his trailer in Crawford, Mississippi around 1978.

In late August of 1978 I took a train from Alexandria, Virginia to Meridian, Mississippi to meet George Cummings(of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show fame)to go with him to Crawford, Mississippi to meet Big Joe Williams and all go together to Muscle Shoals, Alabama for the two of them to do some music recording together.
I had first met Big Joe Williams in April of 1975 even though he had grown up on my grandfather Marion Stewart's farm outside Crawford, Mississippi. My friend George Cummings wanted to meet Big Joe and I had taken him up to Crawford in the summer of 1978 and it was decided we would come back in the fall and go to Muscle Shoals so the two of them could record together in a proper music studio.
So it was George and I arrived in Crawford and found Big Joe. There was a German blues critic music producer and photographer living in Crawford recording Big Joe also. His name was Axel Kuestner. There was also some guy who appeared who wanted us to sign some papers that no strings or anything else would be added to the music recorded by Big Joe. After we got that out of the way we took off for Muscle Shoals, Alabama in two cars. George and I in his car and Axel and Big Joe in another car. We followed them stopping only once for something to eat for lunch. It was small gas station grocery store type of place. Big Joe told Axel what he wanted to eat but Axel did not understand the request so I had to go ask Big Joe. He told me "Tell him to get me some potted meat". Axel had no idea what potted meat was so I had to show him.
On we went to Muscle Shoals.We were there two or three days while they were recording.
It was years later the recordings were released by Polydor.
I never got any money for my part in this recording adventure. I never really expected any. I think it was worth it just for the experience. However, looking back I now like the idea that I did not get any money since no one can say I ripped off an old black blues musician.
And George Cummings did pay Big Joe for his recording and Big Joe seemed satisfied with the money he got from George.

Axel also has released a CD of the recordings he made in Crawford in 1978 of Big Joe. It is called No More Whiskey. Field Recordings 1973 to 1980.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dick Tracy Two Way Wrist Radio and Ramar of the Jungle


Click on the above pictures to enlarge them.

Dick Tracy 2 way wrist radio.
I won one in 1956 at the WALA tv station in Mobile, Alabama in a milk drinking contest. Woodhaven Dairy sponsored our after school dance tv program on WALA TV. They also sponsored RAMAR OF THE JUNGLE. For a commericial they did a live milk drinking contest. I was one of three or four contestants to see who could drink a carton of milk the fastest with a straw. I won. The prize was a brand new Dick Tracy 2 way wrist radio as shown in the picture above.
The announcer asked me if I wanted to say anything. Caught off guard I said, "I would just like to thank my mother and father who made me possible". I was 15 years old at the time.
After that tv appearance kids at school called me "Ramar" and "Woodhaven Dairy". I was famous over night.

Jack Nicholson Clears the Table but Doesn't Get His Toast From Five Easy Pieces

This scene has always bothered me. Everybody thinks it is funny and it is. But it is also mean and juvenile behavior by the Nicholson character Bobby Dupea. Why give a hard working waitress a hard time? Only jerks throw fits in restaurants. If you don't like something speak to a manager or leave. Plus I find it hard to believe any diner or restuarant doesn't serve side orders of toast.
Waitresses and waiters have a hard enough job and then they have to put up with jerks and self important people giving them a hard time. I find it interesting that some people find it easy to act this way in a restaurant sometimes thinking they will get a free meal if they complain loud and long enough.
The 1970s were like the 1960s in that acting out like a sociopath became normal behavior to some people. See Alan Harrington's great book on this subject. It is titled: Psychopaths.
The other really good book on Psychopaths is "The Mask Of Sanity" by Hervey Cleckley.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why Do People leave Coins At William Faulkner's Grave In Oxford Mississippi?

Click on the above pictures to enlarge them.

In the pictures above you will see items left at William Faulkner's grave in Oxford, Mississippi. Besides the empty whiskey bottles and other things people have been leaving money in the form of coins on the grave marker. Why? I have heard two stories.One is for a needy student to get enough money to buy a drink. But the real reason I think is because of his famous quote when he got fired from the Postmasters job at the University of Mississippi in the 1920s. He said,"I reckon I'll be at the beck and call of folks with money all my life, but thank God I won't ever again have to be at the beck and call of every son of a bitch who's got two cents to buy a stamp."

A Russian literary lady visited Oxford once to see the sights of Faulkner country. She asked about that quote. She was told about SOB. She said, "SOB I know but what is this beck and call?"
If there are other reasons for people leaving change on the grave marker I can't think of what they might be.
See my past post on this blog for Faulkner in Paris 1925 in the Luxenbourg Gardens.
And more on William Faulkner.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Cincinnati Kid Steve McQueen 1965 New Orleans

Click on the above original movie poster to enlarge it.

In January of 1965 I worked as an extra on the film The Cincinnati Kid in New Orleans. My friend Jack Newell also worked as an extra. We got about a weeks work out of the job. MGM fed the crew and the extras 3 meals a day. Jack and I reported to a place on Royal Street to get our costume clothes from the 1930s era. Our first assignment was to drive the old cars 1930s vintage on and off the Algiers ferry. Then we did a scene that called for us to arrive early on a Sunday morning for the shooting of the jazz funeral parade which is used in the opening credits of the film. We are not at the graveyard but we are at the big parade that comes after the funeral. This took all morning and each time it got better as more and more booze was consumed. MGM paid all those extras with vouchers. They also provided a nice breakfast before we started that morning. We were both about 24 years old at the time.
We did another scene right outside Jackson Square. Since I was lined up next to Ann Margret I got to talk briefly with her and I asked her about Elvis Presley since she had just finished making Viva Las Vegas with him. I asked her what Elvis was like and she said he was a really nice person.
One morning we went in the Royal Orleans Hotel to get coffee for breakfast and Karl Malden came in and asked for something. He was tying his tie. I nodded at him and he nodded back. Since Tuesday Weld and Steve McQueen(who never showed his face except when filming)and other stars worked on this film it was somewhat of a surprise to me that the actor that created the biggest stir was Edgar G. Robinson. When he showed up to do the scene with the organ grinder and the monkey all the local Jackson Square people really wanted to see Edgar G. Robinson. He seemed to be the biggest star of all.
McQueen shot the scene at Preservation Hall where he looks in and sees Sweet Emma the Bell Gal singing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
We had nothing to do but sit around in the back patio and watch him go in and out of his dressing room further back in the patio.
Tuesday Weld was very pretty. I remember her sitting in a chair outside Jackson Square and one of the MGM makeup women kept brushing her blond hair.

The S.S. President Steamboat New Orleans

In 1959 I was with a group of college frat brothers and we wanted to take a trip on this steamboat in New Orleans. It was Mardi Gras of 1959 and so there was a large crowd wanting to get on the boat. We were in line and I very much wanted to ride on this boat. As I remember it someone in our group started a fight in the crowd and we were all banned from getting on the boat. Maybe it was already full or maybe we were too drunk and disorderly but in any event we were told we were not getting on the boat. So I never got to ride on the S.S. President. Read below to read the sad fate of this boat.
However, in 2002 my wife and I were in New Orleans and we did ride on the Steamboat Natchez seen below in another post. So I finally got to ride on a Steamboat on the Miss. River. We went down river past the Domino Sugar Factory. We were told they refine the sugar there and much of it is sent by railcar to Kentucky to make bourbon whiskey.

From Wikipedia:

Built in 1924 and then known as Cincinnati, it was originally an overnight packet boat that carried passengers and freight from Cincinnati, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky. Her first trip was to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

In 1929, she was acquired by the Streckfus Company which briefly continued her use as a packet boat, but then laid her up until 1932. Streckfus moved her to her new homeport of St. Louis, Missouri and over the next two years, the ship was converted to become the largest excursion boat in America. The entire superstructure was rebuilt of steel, and a two-deck-high ballroom was added, as well as a bandstand. It was also at this time that she received her new name, President.

Newly converted and newly named, it opened for business in 1934 and Streckfus advertised her as "the New 5 Deck Luxury Super Steamer, Biggest and Finest On The Upper Mississippi." She continued tramping (having no fixed schedule or published ports of call) until 1941. In 1940, she was displaced from her position as flagship of the Streckfuss line by the S.S. Admiral.

In 1941, the boat switched her home port to New Orleans. Because fuel oil was restricted and many of the young crewmen had joined the armed forces, tramping was discontinued, and the cruises stayed close to home. When World War II ended, the she remained in New Orleans as a popular nightspot.

Because the wind made maneuvering the big boat difficult, she had her two side wheels removed and replaced by 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) diesel engines in 1978.

She was sold in 1985 and returned to St. Louis as her homeport. While there, she was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark on Dec. 20, 1989.

In 1990, President went on its last dinner and dancing cruise before undergoing a ten million dollar renovation and then conversion into a floating casino. It was purchased by what is now known as Isle of Capri Casinos. In 1991, Iowa legalized riverboat gambling and the President opened in Davenport, Iowa with 27,000 square feet (2,500 m2) of gaming space.

The President retired from service in 1999 and was reported, in 2004, to be located on the Yazoo River in Mississippi. At that time, it was for sale by Isle of Capri Casinos.

It was also located at Treasure Island in Lake McKellar at Memphis, Tennessee.

It is currently located (January 2009) in Alton, Illinois, where the National Park Service listed it in November, 2007. It is being dismantled and moved in pieces to St. Elmo, IL, near Effingham, to be re-assembled as a non-floating tourist attraction and hotel.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Steamboat Natchez New Orleans Louisiana

The Flying Burrito Brothers

Popeye Phillips is the drummer on this song Hippie Boy. Popeye was from Mobile, Alabama.

More Pictures of Walter Anderson's Little Room

More on Artist Walter Anderson of Ocean Springs, Mississippi "The Little Room"

The above pictures are of Walter Anderson's "Little Room". It is now part of the Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Click on the above pictures to enlarge them.

Read all about Walter Anderson and the Little Room below.

Walter Anderson: Painter, Poet, Philosopher—and Puzzle.

by Ann Gilbert

In 1949, at the age of 46, struggling Ocean Springs painter Walter Anderson had the offer of a lifetime—an exhibition in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, bringing with it national recognition and an invitation to a career in New York City.

He missed the opening and chose, instead, to use an inheritance to go to China, where he began walking north, then west. He had his heart set on seeing the murals in the monasteries of Tibet. If this seems puzzling, it is because Walter was a puzzle to most of those around him—he was a painter, poet and philosopher, but most of all, he was a recluse, and labeled eccentric, crazy and mad.

As occupation on his passport, he listed “decorator.” His only income was derived from decorating 10 pots per week at about one dollar per pot for his brother Peter’s Shearwater Pottery.

But he was a passionate and highly productive artist, leaving thousands of works, mostly on typing paper and most discovered only after his death. Recognition and promotion were the least of his concerns; he was a prodigious producer, but not for the market. He was on a personal religious and aesthetic quest, painting, sketching, sculpting and carving because it filled his soul and completed his being. Gayle Petty-Johnson, executive director of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, (See “If You Go,” below) says, “He was creating art. It didn’t matter to him that it would never be seen.” Biographer Redding R. Sugg Jr. says Walter Anderson was ambivalent to the preservation of what he drew, painted or wrote.

If he left thousands of paintings, he left hundreds of thousands of words in common black composition books, which, ever the seaman, he called his logs. They are diaries and journals, complete with sketches. They tell us what he was thinking and how he was dreaming. Stacks of the logs were found after his death.

Walter was the guy in the strange hat and mismatched clothes riding a rusty green bicycle about the hamlet of Ocean Springs on the Mississippi Sound. His four children were embarrassed and tried to ignore him when they saw him on the street. The family endured and accepted his behavior, but mothers on the street pulled their children away from “that crazy artist.”

Walter chose to live on the rim of society, a voluntary exile from “the sordid thing most people call reality.” His best friends, his soul mates, were the birds and animals he painted. His wife, Agnes “Sissy” Grinstead, a Radcliff graduate, called him an isolated artist in union with nature. Walter wrote, “Art and nature are one, and it astonishes me each time it happens.” Biographer Christopher Maurer suggests that he was somewhat Buddhist in his philosophy, especially when writing of the divine symphony—the wind, the waves, the birds, the frogs. They all sang to him. They lifted his spirit. They were his spiritual food.

In several of his media, Walter developed a signature style—repetition used to create a pattern. With birds, it gives a sense of movement or of a flock, suggests Patricia Pinson, former WAMA curator. His birds and animals take on a personality. His cows are charming, gentle souls with large eyes, not lumbering smelly, stupid beasts. Walter’s child-like nature is revealed in them.

There was a passionate intensity about Walter. Sissy wrote, “Being with him was like having intense sunlight concentrated on everything … he knew things not only by observation, but by a sort of intuition. He himself was later to define it as the ability to become one with any living thing, a tree, flower, ant or bird.”

“As an artist, he’s a paradox,” says Katherine Huntoon, WAMA curator. “He’s compared to self-taught artists, but he went to two of the best art schools in the nation, the Parsons School of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He’s classified as a watercolorist, but he doesn’t fit that traditional mold, either. He had such an individual muse and unique voice.” Walter worked outside the conventions of art in a style that expressed his intense love for nature. His work does not easily fit into one school, movement or tradition. Art critic Paul Richard said he is at the intersection of Americana folk art and European fine art.

Walter’s art has been described as stylized abstract reality. His daughter Mary Anderson Pickard, who has edited several works about her father, says one of the greatest influences on his work was a book by Adolfo Best-Maugard. The Mexican artist said all art was based on seven linear motifs: spiral, circle, half-circle, S curve, the wavy line, the zigzag and the straight line. Walter warmed up with these and used them in most of his drawings and paintings.

An Artistic Family

The Best-Maugard book was given to Walter by his mother, Annette “Mere” McConnell Anderson. A member of an old New Orleans family, she studied at Newcomb College under Ellsworth Woodward. She encouraged Walter and her other two children, Peter and Mac, to write and draw daily and gave each composition and sketch books.

Walter’s father, George, was a grain merchant of Scottish descent; his grandfather was the mayor of Glasgow, a member of parliament and a poet. The family had 25 acres on the Mississippi Sound in Ocean Springs as a summer place and later moved there to develop an art colony. Peter was the first to follow in his mother’s footsteps, founding Shearwater Pottery on the family property and naming it after a shore bird prevalent on the Gulf Coast. His children continue the legacy of Shearwater, and several other descendants of the three brothers live and/or work at the compound, rebuilt after the total devastation of Katrina. It includes a workshop and a showroom, both open to the public. (See “If You Go,” below)

The Traveler

Walter was the consummate traveler of unconventional means. He preferred to travel by bicycle, boat or by foot. On his bicycle, he found freedom. He would take trips to west Texas, south Florida and even twice to the northeast. “The wheels are turning again,” he wrote. “A bicycle leaves no room for other evils.” He slept on the side of the road, in barns or wherever he could curl up for a night’s rest. With a college award, he was able to go to France and see pre-historic cave paintings, which influenced his animal drawings.

He canoed alone down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and repeated the trip with his bride of one year. Escaping from a mental hospital in the northeast—he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1937—he walked home by following the railroad tracks for 1,000 miles. At another hospital, he exited through a window, clutching a sheet. But he was not in too much of a hurry to leave a calling card on the wall—birds drawn with a bar of soap.


As the family began to grow, Sissy and Walter moved into Oldfields, an 1848 plantation home on the Pascagoula shore bought by her parents in 1904 as a vacation home. She described those as the best years, except for the war and rationing. The 400 acres were a rich sanctuary where he could heal and grow. “He came back to the human race from that far off journey of his as much as he was ever to do,” Sissy wrote.

He read the classics, myths and fairy tales deep into the hours of dawn, with the book held open with his left hand, while the ink pen in his right furiously translated scenes from Don Quixote, Alice in Wonderland and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. (Sissy says that one night at Oldfields, she got up to check on Walter, who was usually drawing furiously.

Instead, she found him feeding a spoon of coffee to two cockroaches.) In the morning, Sissy would gather the sheets scattered on the table and tossed on the floor. Today, they are exhibited in museums. Pinson says Walter’s ideas about folk tales and their place in man’s history anticipate the theories of scholars such as Joseph Campbell in “The Power of Myth.”

Mary says, “My father gave me “The Dictionary of Folktales and Myths” with the admonition, “This is the only thing you ever need to know. I was disappointed because there were no pictures.” It was for her twelfth birthday. She points out that “humor enlivened his fairy tale interpretations, such as the fly on the foot of Sleeping Beauty.”

Walter was as attached to music as he was wrapped up in nature, and he painted his favorite pieces: “Every note, every chord has its color and its blend. The ‘Emperor’ was a sunset; the ‘Brandenburg Concerto’ was mountain peaks.” He often danced alone to music, his pounding feet and booming phonograph waking the children in the middle of the night. Walter needed little sleep. He compiled calendars during those Oldfield years, “clever little recordings of life at Oldfields, featuring an emblem of the day, sketched and water colored,” says Sugg. The artistic highlights of those years, however, were the linoleum block prints.


Walter was shocked by the quality of art offered in five-and-dime stores. Mary says he wanted “to provide ordinary people with good artwork at reasonable prices.” After World War II, he found a ready supply of cheap linoleum and boxes of discontinued wallpaper. He began the great series of lino block prints of nature and fairy tales, printed on the back of the salvaged wallpaper. They were influenced, says Mary, by pre-Columbian, Egyptian and American Indian art.

The wallpaper was 18 to 20 inches wide and 6 to 8 feet long. When exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1949, the prints curator said she “had never seen block prints so large and so finely executed.” Walter predated Picasso and Miro, who would do similar work in the ’50s. It was the first such show of monumental prints in the United States. Orders for prints came in from throughout the country, and it established the Ocean Springs artist as an American master, says Pinson. Sadly, it was also the only important exhibit of his work held during his life.


In 1950, Walter saw an opportunity on viewing the vast walls of the new Ocean Springs Community Center. He volunteered to paint them, but friends had to overcome the objections of some community residents. Paid one dollar, he had to provide his own paints for the venture, and was not allowed to let children help him. His use of oil on the rough cement created a soft, fresco-like effect. The murals’ subject matter is the nature and human history of Ocean Springs. Biographer Anne R. King says Walter’s goal at the OSCC was to provide art that would “teach, guide, provoke change and speak of life through myth, legend and history. The murals also “fulfilled a sense of social obligation.” Upon completion, some residents demanded the murals be covered with white paint. Mary writes, “It was father’s last attempt to share his vision with the world. He retreated to his cottage.”

The Little Room

Walter tried to live as a member of a family in society, but finally moved out of Oldfields, and away from Sissy and the children, retreating to a cottage at the Shearwater compound. Sissy wrote, “I came to realize he could not face the routine of making a living. His whole soul was crying for the pure art he needed to express with his painting.” Walter wrote of work, “Man apparently lives the life of some sort of draught animal as soon as he begins to work.”

On the death of her father, Sissy and the children moved into the Shearwater barn with her mother-in-law. On the 24 heavily wooded acres, the hermit artist still had his privacy in the little cottage. Sissy got a job as a schoolteacher.

After Walter’s death, Sissy and her sister Pat entered the little cottage where Walter had lived in solitude for 18 years. In the filth, there was much of value, says one biographer. Raising the lid of one chest filled with paintings, the women saw the papers move. A nest was underneath. But the grandest surprise lay in the locked little room no one had ever seen. The walls and ceiling were covered with a swirling, vibrant testimony to creation. It was Walter’s last mural: his graphic translation of the Old Testament Psalm 103.

The Islander

During those long years at the cottage, there were times when even that isolation was not enough. Calling himself the Islander and driven to record the flora, fauna, landscape and seascape of the Gulf Coast, Walter began to separate even further from family and society. Several times a year, he climbed into a small skiff and sailed 14 miles to the barrier island named Horn, stashing in a garbage can the barest of essentials to sustain human life and his art supplies: pen and ink, watercolors and brushes, and typing paper.

For shelter, he flipped his boat over and snuggled under it, hanging a cloth for a door. Horn Island would be his refuge for some 18 years. Season after season, generation after generation, he felt the birds and animals came to know him. Climbing into trees, lying in the marsh, crawling on his knees, he came face to face with his subjects. He wrote in his log, “The aquarium deposited by the tides is at my door.”

Walter would stay bivouacked on the island for as much as three weeks. “The world of man is far away and so is man,” or so he thought. The family worried about him. More than once, fishermen found him swamped in rough water. He often refused to be rescued; it took a lot of convincing to get him to accept an extended hand. Once he asked his rescuer to trawl for his possessions, lost when his boat was overturned. The captain acquiesced, and found everything. During Hurricane Betsy, he tied himself and his boat to trees, so he could experience a storm. Back at his cottage, he hopped on his bike and headed to New Orleans to share his insights with meteorologist Nash Roberts.

Walter learned to live with the weather, but even on his island, he could not escape those who torment. Boaters would anchor off shore and focus their binoculars on “that strange man.” Hunters and campers would bang on his boat—amusing themselves “by scaring the hermit out of his shell,” as one biographer aptly put it. Returning to his camp after painting, he would find it ransacked, with food and even his logs stolen. Some of the pranks were life threatening, as when holes were shot into his water jugs. What must have been most heartbreaking was to lose the rabbit he befriended and shared evening meals with. Someone shot the furry companion and tossed the carcass into the camp.

His Demons

Shortly after Walter’s death, Sissy began to write down all the details of their life together—18,000 pages, which were edited into her memoir, “Approaching the Magic Hour.” She writes of her husband, “Oh, weird and wonderful one, how will I ever be able to keep up with you?”

One day early in their marriage, he missed lunch and missed work at the pottery. Sissy recounts the story: “He had noticed a flock of pelicans and spent all day following and observing them, slogging through the marsh in all of his clothes and spending the night with the birds on a beach, until they flew off at dawn. ‘Where WERE you?’ I screamed upon his return.

“‘I was in heaven,’ he said, crawling into bed smelling like guano.” He wrote that the pelican has “the song of the thrush and the tenderness of the dove.” He compiled a dictionary of their sounds.

Walter forced himself to live within the confines of society, and it was hell. The death of his father sent him into a downward spiral, and for over three years he was in several mental institutions. During a stay in Baltimore, the physician explained the use of experimental shock treatment by injection, and asked for his consent. Walter said, “Life in this state is no life at all. Death is preferable.” Mary, his daughter, describes his mental illness as “being cracked open, vulnerable and acutely receptive to everything that comes through the senses.”

Walter’s art came at a costly price to those around him. Sissy wrote, “He was a painter always, a lover at times, and a husband and father never.” Daughter Leif Anderson shares in her book, “Dancing with My Father,” “(his) reality keeps him distant, makes him strange; in fact, it deprives me of his presence and his love … People fall in love with him through his art. They get to love him as I wasn’t allowed to do.” Then the dancer/artist questions, “But if I had not been born of my father, would I know beauty so well?”

Last Trip

Hurricane Betsy was Walter’s last trip to Horn Island. He was coughing up blood and asked Sissy to take him to the doctor. In New Orleans, he mused that this was the first hospital he had entered of his own free will. Ever the unconventional character, he demanded wine from the nurse, saying it would soothe his cough. The doctor prescribed a glass of wine. “It was approaching the magic hour before sunset,” as Walter described his favorite time of day. He died of lumg cancer November 30, 1965. At his gravesite, a bird suddenly appeared and squawked loudly during the minister’s prayer. The family smiled knowingly. Walter had come to say goodbye, and then he flew off.

Forty-three years after his death, the museum struggles to introduce art lovers on a national level to the legacy of Walter Anderson. The Smithsonian had a major exhibition in 2003, “but he is only in regional galleries, for the most part,” says Huntoon. “We have some hurdles to get over.” WAMA has two or three exhibits traveling to museums throughout the South and as far north as Pennsylvania this year. Mary says, hopefully, “The next layer of art history books will include Walter Anderson.”

What the critics have said

John Russell in the New York Times in 1985: The paintings have a quietly exultant power that puts them among the best American watercolors of their date.

Lawrence Campbell in “Art in America”: Anderson’s originality merits him an honored place in the history of American 20th century art.

Art historian John Paul Driscoll: The pattern and color place him in the general sphere of Matisse and Picasso.

Philadelphia Inquirer in 1985: His paintings are like van Gogh’s in the way they bombard viewers with more visual information than they can handle comfortably. Though modest thematically, they project a grandiose, intense, poetic interpretation of the world.

New York Times: The printed panels suggest richly hued stained glass or mosaic work with the background surrounding the often life-sized figures filled in with primitive motifs.

If you go …

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art opened in 1991 and is dedicated to the celebration of the works of Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965) and to his brothers, Peter Anderson (1901-1984), master potter; and James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998), painter and ceramist. It operates in part by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. A special exhibit, “Shearwater at 80,” opens September 18. 510 Washingtion Ave.; Ocean Springs, Miss. Telephone: 228-872-3164. Open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Sunday, 12:30- 4:30 p.m. Adults, $7; seniors, $6; children, $5.

Shearwater Pottery is an historic American crafts site and facility with workshop and showroom open to the public. Group tours arranged by appointment. 102 Shearwater Drive; Ocean Springs, Miss. Showroom open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Big Sleep 1946

That is Lauren Bacall in the top video of course. But the bottom two it is the actress Martha Vickers. She is so good she almost stole the show.

The Big Sleep 1946 Bogart and Bacall Screenplay by William Faulkner

If you think that is good writing it is because William Faulkner had a hand in writing the screenplay for The Big Sleep along with Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett and Raymond Chandler himself.

Meeting Mickey Mantle Spring Of 1956

In the spring of 1956 I was about to turn 16 years old that year. I got a job as a ball boy after school at the baseball stadium in Mobile, Alabama just at the time the major league teams were heading north for the new baseball season. Several top teams came through Mobile that spring and played each other. I remember the Dodgers came through and I remember watching Gil Hodges clowning around during infield practice throwing the ball behind his back with his glove. I got to play catch with catcher Smokey Burgess who was with the Cincinatti Redlegs that year.
I rememeber hearing Don Drysdale who was rookie that year telling other Dodgers how many beers he had drank the night before. The Dodgers traveled on their own train so as not to have any problems in the still segregated south. The Braves came through as did the Phillies and of course my beloved New York Yankees. I got to the stadium early that day and I went in the clubhouse dressing room that was for the Yankees. I was surprised to find that only Elston Howard was there. No one else was around. I engaged him in conversation all the while wondering why he was there alone. I asked him how Mantle's leg was and he said it was getting better. It was only later that I figured out that Howard had come to the stadium alone because he had not stayed with the rest of the team wherever they were staying.
Soon the rest of team did show up and I got to see some of my baseball heroes up close down on the field. Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel,Billy Martin, and all the rest of the Yankees of the year 1956.
I happened to see Mantle walk by. I said, "Hi Mickey". He kept right on walking and did not say a word. But I had my ace in the hole. I had seen his twin brothers Ray and Roy play outfield in the Class C Cotton States League. They played left and right field for the Monroe,La. team. I had seen them play the Meridian Millers in Meridian Miss. the year before. So I called out to Mantle's back as he walked away,"I saw your brothers Ray and Roy play in the Cotton States League". He turned around and came back. I told him I had seen Ray or Roy(whichever one was in right field that night)drop a fly ball in the 9th inning that cost Monroe the ball game and that Ray or Roy turned around and threw his glove over the fence. I don't remember any more except he turned around again and walked off. He had a great year that year.

Monroe Sports
From BR Bullpen

Location: Monroe, LA
League: Cotton States League 1950-1955; Evangeline League 1956
Affiliation: Shreveport Sports 1953; New York Yankees 1955-1956
The 1955 Sports featured twins Roy Mantle and Ray Mantle - brothers of Mickey Mantle. Roy made the all-star team in the OF.

Walter Anderson Artist From Ocean Springs, Mississippi

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Weather Report For Washington DC and Photos of DC

Tomorrow (President's Day): Morning skies become overcast as an Alberta Clipper moves in from the west. Light-to-moderate snow should start between late morning and early afternoon -- possibly mixing with some rain and sleet, primarily from the District toward points south and east -- and may continue into the evening. Highs in the mid-30s fall back to around freezing once the precipitation gets going. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Snow tapers during the evening or overnight. Lows drop to the mid-to-upper 20s with an increasing breeze from the west. Confidence: Medium

Accumulations: At the moment we expect total snow accumulations in the range of 1 to 4 inches, with the highest amounts north and west of D.C. and lowest amounts south and east. So far we don't see much potential for a storm the likes of our last two. Check back with us late this afternoon for a snow update and accumulation map. Confidence: Medium

Dante's Inferno The Ninth Circle of Hell

Ninth Circle
The Ninth Circle is ringed by classical and Biblical giants, perhaps to partly represent the Titans and rebellious Gigantes of Greek mythology who were imprisoned in Tartarus by the gods. The giants are standing either on the ninth circle of Hell, or on a ledge above it, and are visible from the waist up at the ninth circle of the Malebolge. They include Ephialtes, who with his brother Otus tried to storm Olympus. The giant Antaeus lowers Dante and Virgil into the pit that forms the ninth circle of Hell. (Canto XXXI) Traitors, distinguished from the "merely" fraudulent in that their acts involve betraying one in a special relationship to the betrayer, are frozen in a lake of ice known as Cocytus. Each group of traitors is encased in ice to a different depth, ranging from only the neck and through to complete immersion. The circle is divided into four concentric zones:

Round 1: Caïna, named for Cain, is home to traitors to their kindred. The souls here are immersed in the ice up to their faces – "the place where shame can show itself." (Canto XXXII)
Round 2: Antenora is named for Antenor of Troy, who according to medieval tradition betrayed his city to the Greeks. Traitors to political entities, such as party, city, or country, are located here. Count Ugolino pauses from gnawing on the head of his rival Archbishop Ruggieri to describe how Ruggieri imprisoned him along with his children, condemning them to death by starvation. The souls here are immersed in the ice deep enough that they are unable to bend their necks. (Cantos XXXII and XXXIII)
Round 3: Ptolomaea is probably named for Ptolemy, son of Abubus, who invited Simon Maccabaeus and his sons to a banquet and then killed them. Traitors to their guests are punished here. Fra Alberigo explains that sometimes a soul falls here before Atropos cuts the thread of life. Their bodies on Earth are immediately possessed by a demon. The souls here lay supine on the ice, which covers them except for half of their faces. As they cry, their tears freeze and seal their eyes shut–they are denied even the comfort of tears. (Canto XXXIII)
Round 4: Judecca, named for Judas Iscariot, Biblical betrayer of Christ, is for traitors to their lords and benefactors. All of the sinners punished within are completely encapsulated in ice, distorted in all conceivable positions.

Satan is trapped in the frozen central zone in the Ninth Circle of Hell, Inferno, Canto 34.Dante and Virgil, with no one to talk to, quickly move on to the center of hell. Condemned to the very center of hell for committing the ultimate sin (personal treachery against God) is Satan (Lucifer), who has three faces, one red, one black, and one a pale yellow, each having a mouth that chews on a prominent traitor. Satan himself is represented as a giant, terrifying beast, weeping tears from his six eyes, which mix with the traitors' blood sickeningly. He is waist deep in ice, and beats his six wings as if trying to escape, but the icy wind that emanates only further ensures his imprisonment (as well as that of the others in the ring). The sinners in the mouths of Satan are Brutus and Cassius in the left and right mouths, respectively. They were involved in the assassination of Julius Caesar—an act which, to Dante, represented the destruction of a unified Italy and the killing of the man who was divinely appointed to govern the world.[16] In the central, most vicious mouth is Judas Iscariot—the namesake of this zone and the betrayer of Jesus. Judas is being administered the most horrifying torture of the three traitors, his head in the mouth of Satan, and his back being forever skinned by Satan's claws. (Canto XXXIV) What is seen here is a perverted trinity: Satan is impotent, ignorant, and evil while God can be attributed as the opposite: all powerful, all knowing, and good. The two poets escape by climbing down Satan's ragged fur, passing through the center of the earth, emerging in the other hemisphere (described in the Purgatorio) just before dawn on Easter Sunday, beneath a sky studded with stars.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snowball fight Dupont Circle Washington, D.C. Feb. 6th 2010

This looks like fun. This is what young people do today. In the late 1960s and early 1970s Dupont Circle was the gathering point for many protests against the war in Vietnam. Young people the same age as the people in this video came out to protest the war. Not anymore it seems. Why? There are 2 wars going on and no protests in Washington, D.C. of any size. We used to get 500,000 people every weekend in DC to protest the Vietnam War. Now these kids just throw snowballs. Why? Because there is no draft. That is all I can think of. If there was a draft for the military the protests would start all over again I feel sure. Meanwhile kids keep throwing your snowballs. How times change.

Friday, February 12, 2010

William Eggleston In The Real World

Here is a link to a Youtube video of the movie William Eggleston in the Real World. I can't embed this video as that function is disabled on this video of the movie. The movie is long but well worth watching if you are interested in Photography and William Eggleston. There is a short commercial before the film starts.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ivory Joe Hunter born in Kirbyville, Texas Sings All States Boogie

Bob Dylan Feb. 1, 1964 TV Show Canada The Times They Are A Changing

This is the first time I have ever seen this. Click on the video to go to YouTube and read all about it.
And see my very first post on this blog Dec. 9, 2009 about Bob Dylan at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans Feb. 11th, 1964.

Bob Dylan At The White House Feb.9, 2010

Arlington Virginia Blizzard of 2010 Feb.10th Washington DC Area

These are Rachel's videos. Click to go to Youtube and you can see 9 more of her videos.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The New Yorker Cover The Resurrection of the Dead

Click on the cover to enlarge it.
When I saw this a few weeks ago I didn't know if it was about Haiti or New Orleans. Seems to me it can be about both.

January 18, 2010
Cover Story: The Resurrection of the Dead
Posted by Blake EskinThe cover of this week’s New Yorker is titled “The Resurrection of the Dead.” It was painted by the Haitian artist Frantz Zephirin.

“The Resurrection of the Dead” is not a direct response to the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th; Zephirin painted it in 2007. But Bill Bollendorf, who runs the Galerie Macondo, in Pittsburgh, explained that the three skeletal figures in the doorway are guede, members of a family of spirits who guard the frontier between life and death. The woman in the wedding dress is Gran’ Brigitte, and the man in the blue uniform is her husband, Baron Samedi.

Elizabeth McAlister, an associate professor of religion at Wesleyan University who specializes in Haiti (and who took part in Sasha Frere-Jones’ two-part roundtable on Haitian music), offered additional interpretation of the symbolism in the cover image. She understood the wall surrounding the doorway to be filled with

the unblinking faces of the spirits of the recently dead. Just crossed over, they still have eyes, which are the blue and red of the Haitian flag.
She went on:

Below them are the waters, the waters under which lies the country without hats, where the sun rises facing backwards. This is where the dead spend a year and a day. An ba dlo. Under the water. Resting. Floating. After that when it is time, they will be lifted out, drawn out, by their living. If they are lucky to have children living and walking on the earth.

The dead are still with us, in the unseen world. They have a space. They have a time. They have company. They are not alone. They will be received. They will hear prayers. They look at us.

Bill Bollendorf says he met Zephirin in Haiti in 1989. The artist first travelled to Pittsburgh in 1995, and every so often comes to visit and paint. “He always takes a Greyhound bus from Miami,” says Bollendorf. “He likes to ruminate on his art.” On his most recent visit, in 2007, Zephirin “painted five fabulous paintings and drank seven cases of Yuengling beer—and he was here for eight days,” Bollendorf says.

In his paintings, Zephirin will refer to, and comment upon, history, politics, and Christianity and voodoo; “Bourique Chaje” (“The Overloaded Donkey”) is a critique of a comment made by an American ambassador to Haiti. Zephirin’s paintings often contain animals; Bollendorf says Zephirin once told him,”I’m an eagle. I hang above it all and see what I can catch.”

Zephirin’s home was in Mariani, near the epicenter of the earthquake. “He lives on a mountaintop in this voodoo temple, and on the second floor he paints,” he said. Bollendorf was unable to reach Zephirin for several days after the earthquake. Zephirin finally called him on Sunday afternoon, and said he was “doing an earthquake painting called ‘The Cry of the Earth.’ Painting it while sitting at an easel in the devastated street, he tells me.”


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The George Lewis Jazz Band When The Saints Go Marching In Nice Old Video of New Orleans

The Saints have finally marched in. The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in the Super Bowl. This is a really nice old video of New Orleans.The music is George Lewis and his Jazz Band playing When The Saints Go Marching In. Click on the video to go to Youtube and read all about George Lewis and his band. The video is titled Flying to New Orleans because of the opening scenes taken from a plane but the song is When The Saints Go Marching In.